Monday, January 26, 2015

January 2015 Top 5

I hope that everyone's new year is off to a great start!

I went back and forth on what I was going to do for favorites this year. It's funny that I hate writing and have blog. Anywho...I didn't want a long list of stuff like last year. Plus since I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff, I didn't want to end up talking about "the same" products. Makes sense?

There will be repeats I'm sure. So I'm going to try my best to stick the 5 products/looks that I absolutely enjoyed using and wearing for the month. Let's see how this goes...HA!

Here are the four products and an eye look that I have been loving for January.

elf Mineral Primer

elf had a 40% off promo in December and I picked up this primer in Clear based off of a friend's recommendation. I really really like it. Here is the product description from elf's website:
"Transform your face into a flawless and smooth canvas with the Mineral Infused Face Primer. Developed to combat against excess oil, flaky dryness, enlarged pores and fine lines. This clear multipurpose skin primer will prepare your skin so makeup goes on evenly for a long lasting satin finish."
It goes on nicely and fills in my pores to smooth out my skin. I've used this will liquid and mineral foundation and it works well with both. I've also noticed that it helps maintain my oily skin. My forehead still gets shiny but it's not as bad as it can be. I did alternate this with Rimmel's Matte primer and compared the two. I like Rimmel primer more but I still enjoy this primer. It'll be interesting to see how this holds once the warmer weather hits.

 elf Blush Palette in Dark

This was another item that was in my elf order. There is also a palette in Light but I decided not to get it. But according to my friend, I need to get it lol. The shades in the palette are pigmented, easy to blend and are not chalky. This would be a good palette to travel with. It reminds me on my Bobbi Brown blush palette that I put together in terms of the packaging. Now mind you I had to get the blushes separately and the empty palette. So without a doubt this elf palette is the better deal. My go to blush was the one on the bottom right. It's a pretty deeper pinky plum shade. The one that surprised me the most was the one on the top left. It's the perfect peachy pink shade for deeper skin tones. This just may be my blush favorite for the year. Calling it early am I?  I've already made myself put it away because I could seriously keep using in through February. But y'all have seen my blush drawer *head palm*

OPI Suzi Has a Swede Tooth

If you checked out my Best of Beauty 2014 post then you might have seen my fingers floating around in some of the pics. This is the polish that I'm wearing and I really really like it. I have various pink nail polishes and I like them. But this one for some reason really caught my eye. I like how it looks against my skin tone. If I had to get rid of all my pink nail polishes and just keep this one, I'd been fine with that. This will get a lot of use from me once the warmer temperatures roll around.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velvet Lipsticks

I ordered the bundle of 3 from the Jeffree Star Cosmetics website I'm gifting the pink shade called Prom Night to a friend. I kept Red Rum and I'm Royalty. Liquid lipsticks are the new lip trend and everyone seems to have them or they are launching them this year. For some reason the ones from Jeffree Star Cosmetics caught my eye. These are fantastic. They are SUPER long wearing but I didn't feel like they dry out my lips. They are pigmented and not for the faint of heart. Both apply on the bright side. When I first put them on I was like ummmmm o_O!! But once they dried down, I was ok with wearing them. Looks like a pinky nude shade will be launching soon and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Brown Smokey Eye

Sooooo the MAC quads that I mentioned in January Product Play got NO LOVE this month. Oye. I may try to use them again. Or take it as a sign that they need to go. Not sure how I feel about just straight giving them away since MAC quads aren't cheap. Anywho...

I'm kind of "cheating" here since I'm mentioning more than one product but this eye look has been a go to for me in January and these are the products I used to achieve the look. Some mornings I just want something quick and simple and this kind of eye look is it for me. I can wear whatever blush and lip combo and keep it moving.  I could wear a brown smokey eye everyday and be happy. Which is telling and may help me the next time I go through my makeup stash to purge more stuff. That's the hope anyway. The two main products I used the most this month to create this look were the Jordana 12 HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in Tenacious Brown and elf baked eyeshadow in Chocolate Dream.  I also used the Jordana pencil with Darkhorse from the Naked palette. One morning I used Tarte's shadow pencil which in a bronze shade with the elf shadow and it was so pretty for more of dark bronze/brown smokey eye. The Jordana pencil is matte and is a good alternative to a black shadow pencil since it is a nice dark brown shade. I've worn the elf baked shadow on its on all over the lid as a one shadow look and it's very pretty without a base.

And done! That wasn't too painful. I probably could have listed a few more products but I'm sticking to my guns and only picking 5!

See you in February!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Lovin: 2015 Non-Fiction Reads

Here are my non-fiction reads for 2015!

Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from The Underground Railroad

I picked this book from a African-American book store during a book event featuring on of my favorite authors. I got this a long time ago and never read. I'm always up to read anything about black history.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I picked this up from a bookstore in Portland during a work trip in 2013. When I got home I gave to my mom to read. She enjoyed and she read it no time. I had heard about what happened to Henrietta Lacks and it struck a nerve with me. So I wanted to read this book.

Dreams from My Father

Once President Obama was elected, I went out and purchased several books he authored. I think this was his first book.

Steve Jobs

I picked this up based off of a recommendation from my boss. She loves all things Apple and Steve Jobs. Our office is a Mac shop. I do like my iMac. I "claim" to be lightweight anti-Apple lol.

Nellie Quander, An Alpha Kappa Alpha Pearl.

And we have a bonus book! I originally said I was going to pull out 4 books.  Fancy I know. I bought this book in 2008 during our Centennial celebration. I have a ton of books about my sorority. Some I have read a while ago and some I haven't read at all. So why start with this once. Along with black history, I love reading about women's history as well. This encompasses both.

Let the reading commence!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Eureka! Got Water!

Back in June I posted about my "issues" with drinking water. Well I think I may have found my solution! Isn't this bottle cute! I saw this on Motivational Bottle's Instagram last Sunday and I ordered it that night. Shipping was pretty fast. I washed it out yesterday and filled it up this morning. I've already drank through "noon" by 9am! Woohoo! I love the times of the side as guide and this version of the bottle has a straw which is handy. The bottle I purchased is 30oz.

This is definitely going to help me get my water intake up! I'm excited. Now of course you don't need to spend this much on a bottle. But I like the fact that Motivational Bottles are BPA free. Also the owner is someone I'm familiar with from another brand and she's nice. So I don't mind supporting her. Check it out if you're looking for something to help you drink more water.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Best of Beauty 2014

I did this last year from a YouTube tag. I like the categories so I decided to do it again for 2014. When I first started putting this together, I started "cheating" and giving the category to a brand instead of a product. So I went back and really thought about what I really enjoyed during the year. Some categories I do have more than one item *shrugs*. The lip product categories....oye vey! So let's get to it!

Drum roll are my favorites from 2014!

Primer - Rimmel Stay Matte Primer

This is an excellent primer. I still love the Black Radiance primer but I reached for this more so once I got my hands on it. I also love that I can wear it on it's own with Mally's Poreless Face Defender and my skin looks amazeballs and it helps control my oil. I did this on travel days when I didn't want to put on makeup but wanted my skin to look decent.

Foundation - Bare Minerals Blemish Ready Acne Clearing Foundation

This is one of the categories that I was going to give it to Bare Minerals overall. I still love the matte foundation and the original foundation when I reached for it. But I'm going to say that my foundation favorite for 2014 year was their Blemish Ready foundation. I know I just mentioned this in my December favorites. This foundation I really have enjoyed using. I've used it on my face when breakouts weren't an issue and when they were an issue. Just like with other Bare Minerals foundations, I love the buildable coverage. This foundation was great  for me in 2014 and hopefully will still be a good fit for me in 2015.

Concealer - Bare Minerals Stroke of Light

This shouldn't be a shocker since this have been a repeat favorite. I do have some other concealers but I go back to Stroke of Light every single time. I use it under my eyes and it's great. I don't use a concealer on my face since whatever foundation I use covers what I need for it to cover. This covers what I need for it to cover and brightens my under eye area. It's doesn't look crazy or too much. I see some under eye brightening and highlighting and I'm like o_O. If you want something suitable for everyday then I highly recommend this product.

Powder - Bare Minerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Mineral Veil

I was going to give this to Bare Minerals again. But I gave it some thought and decided that the BB Mineral Veil was my favorite powder for 2014. I got in a Today's Special Value set in March. Every time I used it, I was like whoa. It made skin look really good! Also it has a slight tint to it, so it isn't a stark white powder. I'm hoping that they eventually sell it outside of the kit. But I'm sure you can probably find someone selling it on eBay.

Bronzer - Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Deep Chocolate

No surprises here. This bronzer is everything. It's matte. It does run red like some deeper bronzers tend to and it's not muddy looking. I still search online from time to time to see if I can find someone selling it. No such luck. As you can see the pan is larger. We'll see if I can use this up in 2015.

Blush - Bare Minerals Swoon

Now this one gave me some trouble. I used a bunch of blushes over 2014 but nothing really popped out at me when I was putting this post together.  So I went back to my favorites posts and saw that I had mentioned Swoon twice in January and September. So I pulled it out again in December to see if I was still really hype over it and I was. This just an easy blush to wear. It's a pinky coral color that is buildable and can go with just about any look.

Highlighter - Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal 

I kept meaning to mention this in a favorites post but would always forget until after I was done with a post *head palm*. Anywho... I got a sample size of Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal. The only other liquid highlighter that I have is from Maybelline and it's another favorite. Becca's blows Maybelline away! This is so easy to apply and blends into the skin effortlessly. This is a grown up highlighter that's not glittery. It gives you this lit from within glow that is just beautiful. If you can get a sample of this from Sephora or Ulta then do! My coworker got me the mini set of 3 liquid highlighters for Christmas. So I have more Opral waiting for me. I've also swatched several of their powder ones in Sephora and they are just as gorgeous. They may find a home in my makeup collection.

Brows - Milani Brow Shaping Clear Gel

I never really bought into the hype of a brow gel. Most of the ones I saw were mid-range/high end ones and I didn't think it was worth it to shell out the money,. I had always used Maybelline's clear mascara on my brows. When I Milani released theirs, I said why not since it's inexpensive. I ended up liking this more than Maybelline's clear mascara. I like the brush. It's small and you can shape your brows with it. I also like the gel formula. It keeps my brows in place all day. I used it with my Iman Brow Pencil which is still a favorite.

Eyeshadow Palette - Tarte Exotic Eyes 5-in-1 Shadow Palette

This was a tough one. I was going to give this to Tarte overall since I enjoyed a lot of their palettes in 2014. But then I thought about it some more and decided that the Exotic Eyes palette is my favorite for 2014. I have reached for this so many times since purchasing. I have used it on it's own and paired with other palettes. The copper shadow is my favorite warm brown shadow and the dark brown shadow is fantastic. Also the highlight shade is matte and not stark white that I can't use it on my deeper skin tone. It only has five shades but this palette is very versatile. For me its more handy than than both of the Naked Basics palettes from Urban Decay.

Eyeliner - Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Dark Chocolate Ink

This has stayed in my makeup bag since I purchased it. I've mentioned before that I prefer a dark brown liner to black and you already know I loves me some Bobbi Brown gel liner. Just like with her other gel liners, the formula is smooth and easy to apply. It lasts all day.

Mascara - tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes

My mascara favorite for 2014 goes to tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes. I hadn't used it in a while, so I forgot how much I enjoy this mascara. It's a great mascara. The formula is not too wet or dry. It gives me volume and length. I also like that my lashes don't get hard and crunchy. I have two more tubes coming in an auto delivery shipment from their November Today's Special Value. So I'm good on mascara for a while.

Lip Pencil - NYX lip liner in Espresso

This one still goes to NYX lip liner in Espresso. It's the only liner I use anytime I apply a lipstick or gloss no matter the color.

Lipstick - MAC Del Rio, Viva Glam III and Pure Heroine

I narrowed it down to these 3 MAC lipsticks but I couldn't pick just one. Lip products are my jam. So I decided to go with all 3. All 3 got some serious use from me in 2014. I picked up Del Rio and Viva Glam III from my first trip to the CCO (Cosmetic Company Outlet). Both of these went with me while I traveled over the summer. I know for most these are probably fall shades. But for me they are go everyday, all occasions shades for my skin tone. Pure Heroine launched over the summer. I remember people griping about the release since it's more of a fall shade. You best believe I slapped this joker on a soon as I got it! Summer be damned! I don't think it was too much to wear over the summer. When I ordered it, I automatically got 2 since I knew I was going to really like it. Over the cooler months, it has been a go to lipstick for me. I gripe about MAC but they do make some good lipsticks.

Lipgloss - Bare Minerals Moxie Lipgloss in Glamourista and Rebel, MAC Playful Petal &NYX Butter Glosses

I got Glamourista  in a auto delivery shipment from QVC. When I got it, I was like ok another pink gloss. It's pretty in the tube and wasn't expecting much. Once I put it on I was like aaaaaahhhhhhhh *sing song voice*. I'm always leery when it comes to pink lip products. This one it the perfect pink for my skin tone and it goes with almost any look. It's described as a candied pink. I had to make myself put it away several times since I wasn't reaching for any other lip products. When the warmer weather rolls back around, Glamourista and I will be reacquainted lol. Rebel I got as a 100 point perk from Sephora. It's described as pink mauve . It's just about spot on for my natural lip color. On the days that I don't wear any makeup, this is one of the glosses I reach for to throw on. I keep this in my makeup bag in my purse. I'm itching to get a full size but I'm going to be good and use this one up first. Bare Minerals Moxie is one of my absolute favorites for lipglosses. I finally tried the NYX Butter Glosses in 2014. As you can see I liked them so much I ended up purchasing 6 last year. I have Praline, Ginger Snap, Angel Food Cake, Raspberry Tart, Red Velvet, Devil's Food Cake. They are pigmented, apply smoothly, feel nice on the lips and they're not drying. I think I'm good on colors. Famous last words lol. The last gloss that popped in to my head was MAC's Playful Petal Cremesheen Glass from MAC's A Fantasy of Flowers collection. I saw it in one of crystalis007's videos along with the coordinating lipstick and I was like oh. So I picked up both. I enjoyed the lipstick but the gloss was the product that stuck out to me. It'a described as electric magenta. I was really tempted to get a back up but I was good. MAC re-releases stuff all the time. So if this happens to come back then maybe I'll get another one. I guess pink lip glosses were my thing is 2014 which is interesting.

Beauty Subscription

I did two in 2014. I ended up cancelling Ipsy and Fab Polish was cancelled for me. *shrugs*. I don't plan on participating in any beauty subscription services during 2015. We'll see if that holds.

Skincare - L'Oreal Youth Code Texture Perfector Serum and Day/Night Cream

This is another one that shouldn't be a surprise. I've gushed about these two products so much that I'll keep it brief here. The serum and day/night cream have been favorites since I purchased them back in June and have been repurchased several times over. They have also seriously helped keep my skin smooth and even. These two products are some of the best skin care products that I've ever used. They will stay in my skin arsenal as long as they keep working for me.

Nail Polish - Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue

I was going to mention an OPI polish but was like noooooo this one goes to Sally Hansen's Pacific Blue! I posted back in August about my rant and mission to get a back up of this polish. I ended up purchasing the 3 I found a CVS and giving one to a coworker. So I now have 2 unopened bottles. I have worn this polish multiple times throughout the year. I'm still bummed that Sally Hansen changed their formula and changed this one completely.

And there you have it. Let's see what 2015 brings!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

UPDATE: Product Play January 2015

Pause Product Play...

So yeeaaaaaaa....I'm supposed to be playing around with the Kat Von D Innerstellar palette right? I ordered it on December 6. I think I got it a few days later. I've only used it twice. I didn't reach for it when I did my makeup today. I did a look with it yesterday and it was pretty. I keep looking at it and I swatched it again today. I'm just not wowed by it like I have been with my other recent palette purchases. I do like a couple of the shadows but not enough to keep the palette. So like I've mentioned before if I'm lukewarm about a product, I'm not keeping it! So back it goes!

I was watching a December favorites video and the YouTuber mentioned Urban Decay's original Naked palette. I commented on her video saying that it is an instant go to palette for me. I had decided to play around with the Naked 2 and Naked 3 palettes next month, so why not go ahead and play with the first one now :D

Resume Play!!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Less Stuff...

So you've heard me talk about purging various products be it books, makeup, clothes, etc. I ran across a meme on Instagram saying something to the effect that if your clutter is cluttering your mind then you need to let things go. So that's what I have been doing for the past year and half.

Have a slipped up? Sure I have. I lost my mind recently at Bath & Body Works during the Semi Annual sale lol. But I've said to myself alright chick, you don't need anymore bath and body stuff. You're going to use what you have. I was like ok. I've also done good recently by not taking advantage of other deals and promos. I've also started unsubscribing from various email lists and cleaning out my inbox. I'm still doing good with keeping my receipts and returning stuff that I'm lukewarm about.

One blog that I stumbled upon is "Becoming Minimalist". His posts and the ones he shares are thought provoking, give good tips and is non-judgmental. I've stumbled upon some folks on Instagram using the hashtag #declutter.

I don't know if I can go FULL on minimalist. I like what I like and I'm not going to apologize for that. But I can make an effort to curtail my spending, the "need" to have some much stuff and use what I have. It's a journey I've been on for a while and it is just that a journey. It's a journey that's different for everyone and it's not going to happen overnight.  It's time to see if I can take it to the next level in 2015. This is gonna be interesting. I may be successful or I may fall flat on my face. I just want to find a happy balance at this point in my life and not be consumed by things.

This was a ramble post that popped in my head. If it doesn't make much sense then my bad :)

I may report back in June and then again in December with my efforts.

Stay tuned...

Product Play January 2015

Happy New Year!

So for 2015, I figured why not combine Palette Play and Polish Play into one post.

Palette Play

I have a lot of shadows. I did purge a lot last year but I still have too much for one person. First world problems I know. If you been following me for a while then you know that eyeshadows, especially palettes are my weakness. Last year I used a palette (quad, duo, or whatever) for a week. It was long enough for me to get a taste of something but I felt that I really didn't use the item. If that makes sense. So this year I am going to use a palette for two weeks. So we'll have 2 palettes for the month.  I still may use a duo, quad or small palette for a week since they are smaller. I'm determined to hit pan on something this year lol! Also I'm hoping this will help me purge some more shadows from my collection this year.

First up, I will be playing around with the Kat Von D Innerstellar palette. I ordered this from Sephora and I did one look with it when I got it. I did like the look. But I need to play around with some more to see if it's a keeper or if it's going back to Sephora.

Next I will be playing around with the two quads I picked up from MAC's Wonder Woman collection. Here we have Valiant (greens) and Defiance (pinks). I may take out the blush that I picked up from the collection and play around with it too.

Polish Play

Polish Play will still be the same. I'll just grab some polishes and use em. I said that I wasn't going to pull out a TON of polishes. But I ended up getting a lot of polishes last month and I want to play around with them. So these may take me into February. We shall see. Going to try and limit my nail polishes purchases this year and reorganize my storage.

I got the OPI Holiday Favorites set from HSN. I got this for my Secret Santa gift at work and of course I had to get me a set too lol. The set came with a bunch of goodies including five nail polishes. I already have Lincoln Park After Dark. So I'm gifting the bottle that came in the set to a friend.

Malaga Wine, Lincoln Park After Dark, My Address Is "Hollywood", Suzi Has A Swede Tooth, Bubble Bath

The OPI set also came with 3 mini polishes. It irks me that OPI doesn't print the names on the bottle. The mini Formula X polish was a 100 point Sephora perk.

Twinkle A Little Gold, Starry Night, Sugarplum Berry, A+

These mini Zoya polishes came in their Cyber Monday mystery bag. It was $15 with free shipping. It came with some other goodies and some coupons for future purchases. I was pleased and would purchase a mystery bag from them again.

Rekha, Lael, Willa

These next set of polishes I scooped up from Utla on sale. The China Glaze bottles with the silver tops, I got for 97 cents!!!! The China Glaze polish from The Giver collection I got for $3.77 and the OPI polish I got for $4.77. The next time you're in Ulta check out their clearance section. You can scoop some good deals.

Sand Dolla Make You Holla, Shell We Dance?, Teal The Tide Turns, Boundary of Memory, First Class Desires

Out of My Face

Here I'll list any products that I want to use up. Then I'll report back in a future post if I'm successful instead of the long list like I had last year. That  long list was king of intimidating and I would forget was on the doggone thing.

I have 3 things that I hope I can get used up by the end of the month.

Wen Fall Apple Spice Cleansing Conditioner, CVS Cocoa Butter Petroleum Jelly, Aveeno Positively Nourishing  Comforting Whipped Souffle

I think that's it. That's enough stuff right. Jeez!

Let the Product Play commence!